According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 30 to 40 percent of the food supply —133 billion pounds or $161 billion a year — goes to waste. The concept of reducing food waste may be very meaningful to you, especially after weight loss surgery, when your diet changes and your portions get smaller.
Read on for some helpful tips on reducing food waste.
Have a Plan and Shop Smart
Planning ahead is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of food you waste. Create a meal plan for the week that allows you to reuse some of your ingredients. For example, plan a few meals around one type of protein, like chicken or fish, so you are not overbuying and then throwing out what you don’t use. Before you head to the grocery store, “shop” your fridge, freezer and pantry to look for staples like beans or rice you can use. Once you hit the store, stick to your shopping list and avoid impulse buys.
Store Your Perishables Properly
How you store your perishables is also key to reducing waste. Foods will spoil faster if they are not stored properly. Storing fruits and vegetables is especially tricky, as some foods ripen and rot faster if they are refrigerated, and others ripen and rot faster if they are kept at room temperature. You can find helpful produce storage tips at Heart.org.
Investing in storage tools like glass Tupperware and mason jars also makes it more convenient to store food properly so it lasts longer.
Keep Your Food Organized
If you can’t see what is in your fridge, pantry or freezer, you can’t tell when these foods go bad. Do a little spring cleaning and decluttering, and create an organization system that works for you. You may want to follow the “first in, first out” method of placing newer packages behind older ones, so you see and use the older packages first.
Donate to a Food Bank
If a decluttering session leaves you with non-perishables you won’t eat, donate them to a local food bank or charity that serves people in need.
Don’t be so quick to throw out kitchen scraps like stems, ends or peels. Use vegetable scraps and chicken bones to make homemade stock, or blend stems or ends into a nutritious smoothie. Another great way to use up the peels of fruits like apples and cucumbers is to throw them into a glass of water to add flavor.
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